Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Ghostbusters (a movie review post)

I feel like a movie review should not be a place for political commentary unless, you know, the movie has to do with politics. Or commentary. Or some combination of those things. I feel like I should be able to review this movie on the merits of itself as a movie. However, a certain contingent of inflammatory misogynists have made that impossible. There is no legitimate way to address this movie and the fact that it has women in it and not just in it but starring in it as the main characters.

So... Let's talk about the fact that there are four women starring in it and that some people seem to have let that "destroy" their childhoods:
1. If that they have cast the leads in the new Ghostbusters as women has caused your testicles to get all knotted up, the problem is clearly with you, and you need to go take a long look at yourself in the mirror and figure out what your own issues are. Or see a therapist and discuss your mommy issues. Or something.
2. It's a movie! Oh, wait, let me rephrase that: It's a fucking movie! If you are actually bent out of shape and allowing a movie made more than 30 years after the original to retroactively destroy your childhood, then, again, you need to take yourself back to that mirror and figure out what your problem is. I mean, this isn't Star Wars; it's not that important. Oh, wait, if you were one of those guys who allowed the prequels to "rape" your childhood (that is the way those guys put it, right?), you still need to be in front of that mirror. It's not like them putting in a new cast for this movie changes the experience you had of the original.
3. I find it unsurprising but somewhat interesting that the demographic screaming about the women stars of this movie are the same demographic who support Trump, which also matches the demographic who voted yes on the Brexit vote. It reduces all of this to a white, male power thing, and I'm just going to say that the only people threatened by equality are those who have had an unfair advantage. Again, go look at yourself in the mirror and don't come away from it until you can recognize that you're not better than other people and the fact that you feel threatened is entirely on you. And it's a fucking movie! It's not like it's walking up to you on the street and punching you in the balls. Then, you'd have a right to complain. There shouldn't even be any metaphoric balls involved in this.

Speaking of all of this, one of the most brilliant moments in the movie is when they're reading actual comments people (men) made about the movie just from the announcement that it would have a female cast.

And speaking of the women, they, also. were brilliant. I already love Kristen Wiig, and she doesn't disappoint. Ironically, this is a somewhat more serious role for her in that it doesn't rely on her particular brand of awkwardness as the basis for her character. She has her moments, but it's a more three-dimensional part than what she's known for (and so much more satisfying than her recent role in The Martian).

Melissa McCarthy is also a bit more toned down for Ghostbusters. Despite her initial appearance wearing some weird gizmo hat, she is the voice of reason in the movie. She wears the part well. Which is not to say that she turns off the funny, because she doesn't. He ongoing feud with Bennie, the Chinese delivery guy. is great.

I was unfamiliar with both Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones before seeing this, so I have nothing to compare to in regards to their performances, but they were both great, especially Kate McKinnon. In many ways, McKinnon stole every scene she was in by being this crazy professor type, kind of a cross between Doc Brown from Back to the Future and Dr. Frankenstein from Young Frankenstein with a dash of Q (the James Bond one). And that might make it sound like Leslie Jones is the weak link here, but she's totally not. The four women worked well together bringing the same kind of chemistry to the screen as the original quartet of men did.

But let's talk about the movie in general:
I laughed. A lot. To put it more specifically, I laughed throughout the movie, and, for a movie meant to be a comedy, it did its job. More than did its job. In fact, I probably laughed more in this one than I ever did in the original.

Which is not to say it doesn't provide some scares. The opening scene is pretty scary, and I thought for a moment that my daughter was going to ask to leave, it freaked her out so much.

Speaking of the opening scene, it features Zach Woods, who is quickly becoming one of my favorites. Mostly, I know him for his own special brand of awkward but, in his smaller roles,he's shown that he's capable of more than that. This is no exception.

And then there's Chris Hemsworth. He's almost worth the price of admission himself. I really didn't expect much from Hemsworth after Thor. I mean, he was a great Thor -- he was Thor -- but I figured that kind of role was all he was ever going to bring to the table, but he's shown that he has a lot of range, and his role has the clueless receptionist was fantastic.

The only real negative I have is...

Oh, wait, this is a spoiler, so close your ears and say "la la la" or something.

The only real negative I have about the movie is the bad guy:
1. That there was a "bad guy" at all, and
2. That the actor playing the bad guy lacked any real menace. In fact, the only good part with the bad guy was once he had possessed Kevin, and that part was hilarious.

I don't really know why I dislike there being a villain, but it just felt a little too convenient, I guess. And it was so much "the world hasn't been fair to me, waaah!" He was just lame, I suppose. It would have been better if it had just been the ghosts driving the conflict.

The movie is a winner, though, despite the lackluster villain. Unless you just have no sense of humor or can't get over the fact that there are no y chromosomes among the leads, there is no reason you shouldn't like this movie.

Oh, and the cameos are great.


  1. I was surprised to hear so many complaints about the movie too. But seriously, how can you go wrong with Wiig, McCarthy and Hemsworth?

    1. JKIR,F!: I really don't know. Obviously, not in this movie.

  2. I'm surprised to see how much you liked this. And how many favorable reviews it's gotten. I kinda wonder if when they made the Official Trailer that they intentionally showed nothing but unfunny parts to rile people up even more. Seriously, from that single preview alone the movie looks absolutely terrible, and that's what was stopping me from seeing it, not because it's a reboot or they're women.

    1. ABftS: It's been so long since I've seen the trailer, I don't really remember it. I don't remember having a negative reaction to it, though.

    2. Okay, I re-watched it. It seems fine to me, but it actually doesn't have any of the humor in it. The things in the trailer that are funny are out of context so not funny in the trailer. Maybe that's the problem.

    3. Maybe that's it, because I can still watch that trailer without uttering a single laugh. It's just not all that funny to me, but maybe it WOULD be funny if there was more context behind it.

      Did you see Spy (2015)? Another Paul Feig film, starring Melissa McCarthy? I think that was the funniest movie I saw all of last year. Just fantastic, laugh out loud humor from start to finish.

      In other words, I'm more than willing to give this movie a chance, just... not based on that trailer alone.

    4. ABftS: Oh, yeah, Spy was awesome. I think I read that they're looking at a sequel to that one, but I don't see it listed anywhere.
      I think Ghostbusters was better. I think I think I do, anyway.
      Dammit! Now I want to see Spy again!

  3. I think it looks hilarious and can't wait to go see it. And yet people are still saying it isn't good, the positive reviews and large box office don't mean anything, etc. Like, really? Everyone is wrong? Because it doesn't fit with what you want it to be?

    1. Jeanne: It's difficult to overcome prejudices.
      And lots of dudes just think women aren't funny. Which I think is because the humor is frequently about them and they can't deal.